Ryan ruled out until new year with knee injury
Munster and Ireland forward strained ligaments in match against Gloucester
Donnacha Ryan and Paul O’Connell in action against Edinburgh during the Heineken Cup. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Munster forward Donnacha Ryan is set to be out of action until the New Year, ruling him out of Ireland’s November internationals and Munster’s crucial Heineken Cup double header against Perpignan.
Ryan was not included in the Ireland squad yesterday because of a knee ligament injury and Munster coach Rob Penney confirmed he is expected to miss up to ten weeks.
“There is a number of ligament strains in there and he’s got a big rehab component in front of him now.
“For all intents and purposes, it’s highly likely that he could miss those Heineken Cup games in December. But we are not discounting the opportunity for him to be potentially back for that. It just depends on the next month, how his body reacts and the rehab process,” said Penney, whose side will hope to avenge last season’s 51-24 defeat to Glasgow when they meet again tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, Penney said he expects Dave Kilcoyne to fight his way back into the Ireland squad sooner rather than later after his surprise exclusion from Joe Schmidt’s first squad.
Kilcoyne made his debut for Ireland last autumn and has been a regular in the squad ever since, but Penney is sure he has the talents to prove to Schmidt that he made the wrong call.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Killer. I think he is a tremendous player and he adds a lot of value. But Joe knows McGrath really well and Tom Court has obviously had some good performances for Ulster over the last few weeks. He is just going to say ‘you’ve left the wrong guy out’ and he can only prove that by his performances on the field,” said Penney.
And with a major doubt surrounding the future of the Heineken Cup after the four Welsh regions decided to back the proposed Rugby Champions Cup, Penney has admitted it could potentially affect Munster’s bargaining power when it comes to negotiating new deals for their star players.
The likes of Conor Murray, Donnacha Ryan and Paul O’Connell are out of contract at the end of the season, but Penney was anxious not to cause widespread panic before the competition’s future becomes a little cleared.
“Look I haven’t looked too far into it, but that’s obviously a pretty big statement.
“No, not at this point as there is too many things up in the air, but potentially there is a challenge there.
“It’s too important to European rugby not to have a collective top competition that embraces everybody. I can’t see the Irish people getting left out in the cold. That would be detrimental to Ireland and to the competition because they have done so well in those competitions,” he said.